Athena Strand's mother, lawyers launch investigation into FedEx hiring practices

Maityln Gandy, the mother of Athena Strand, called for an investigation into hiring practices at FedEx after a contracted delivery driver confessed to kidnapping and killing her 7-year-old daughter.

Gandy and her attorney addressed reporters Thursday from the steps of the Wise County Courthouse.

Athena Strand went missing last Wednesday sparking a massive search. Her body was found on Friday evening in Boyd, about six miles away from Strand's Paradise home.


Courtesy: Maitlyn Gandy

Tanner Horner, a 31-year-old delivery driver contracted by FedEx, was delivering a package to Strand's home at the time she disappeared.

"I was robbed of watching her grow up by a man that everyone was supposed to be able to trust. To do just one simple task: deliver a Christmas present and then leave," said Gandy.

Gandy says the package was ‘You Can Be Anything' Barbies, a gift meant for Athena for Christmas.


"Screening and hiring policies must be put into place so that monsters wearing delivery uniforms don't show up on our children's doorsteps," Gandy said.

The Wise County Sheriff's Office says Horner confessed to abduction the girl from her driveway and killing her. He faces capital murder and aggravated kidnapping charges.

Athena Strand: What we know about Tanner Horner, the delivery driver who confessed to killing the 7-year-old

Horner is currently in the Wise County Jail being held on $1.5 million bond.


Tanner Horner (Source: Lake Worth Jail)

Gandy's attorney Benson Varghese says his law firm has launched a private investigation into the process that allowed Horner to be hired.

"We are looking at all the decisions that had to have happened before this tragedy occurred," Varghese said. 

Varghese is asking anyone who worked at FedEx, the contracting company, knows Horner or believes they had a package delivered by him to contact him.

Varghese says the goal of the Gandy and the investigation is to affect change.

"We are not in a rush to file a lawsuit, we want a thorough investigation to be completed," Varghese said. "Ultimately wherever that investigation leads us, if it leads us to seek filing a lawsuit to affect the change we hope to affect, then that is what we are going to do."

Athena Strand's grandfather forgives Tanner Horner in emotional social media post

FedEx released a statement about the girl's death over the weekend:

Athena Strand's alleged killing by FedEx driver raises security concerns about shipping service

Fox News Digital reached out to the company inquiring about hiring practices of drivers.

"FedEx Ground contracts for transportation, pickup and delivery services with more than 6,000 independent businesses that are committed to providing outstanding package pickup and delivery services using their own employees," a FedEx spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

The contracted workers are subject to criminal background checks, the spokesperson said.

"As is common across the industry and considered standard practice, employees of service provider businesses are subject to a criminal history background check as part of the eligibility process. Should we become aware of any criminal activity within our network, we work swiftly to investigate and address those incidents, including cooperating with law enforcement."

Fox News Digital inquired if the same network of service providers also hire seasonal workers during the busy holiday season. FedEx said that the providers "employ drivers, helpers, managers and other staff and retain sole discretion over all hiring decisions," including seasonal staff.

Athena Strand: Thousands gather for memorial service for 7-year-old

Very few details have come out about the case, including a possible motive for the killing.

On Monday, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told FOX 4 that the Wise County Sheriff's Office, Texas Rangers, and FBI are following up on a few evidentiary items and performing more interviews.

Akin says he believes arrest affidavits in the case will be sealed.

A private funeral will be held for Athena on Friday.